RM1.1bil price tag to hold polls, says EC

The political parties are expected to spend another RM3-4 billion

(The Star) – The cost of holding the coming general election will be over RM1bil, says Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Salleh.

“The estimated cost is about RM1.1bil,” he said when contacted by The Star recently.

“This is more than double the estimated RM500mil spent for the 14th General Election in 2018, and almost triple the RM400mil spent for the 13th General Election.”

He said the EC would also have to increase the manpower needed to carry out the coming polls by more than 100,000 persons.

“There will also be an increase in the number of personnel on duty, from 260,000 during the last general election to about 366,000 for the coming one,” he said.

The increase in cost and manpower, he added, was due to the higher number of new voters following the implementation of Undi18 and automatic voter registration.

“As at Aug 16, a total of 21,160,936 registered voters were gazetted based on the July verified rolls,” Abdul Ghani said.

There were about 14.9 million registered voters in 2018.

In July 2019, the Dewan Rakyat passed the amendments to Article 119(1) of the Federal Constitution, reducing the minimum voting age in Malaysia from 21 to 18 years old and also allowing the automatic registration of voters.

Due to logistical issues and the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020, the amendments were only implemented in Dec 15 last year.

The number of polling streams and centres would also be increased for the 15th General Election (GE15), Abdul Ghani said.

“There will be 9,560 polling centres during GE15 compared to 9,010 during the previous general election.

“The polling streams will also be increased to 38,990 compared to 29,054 previously,” he said.

Asked if the EC had begun ordering indelible ink for the coming polls, Abdul Ghani refused to comment.

The use of indelible ink was introduced in the general election in 2013 to prevent possible repeat voting.